What a Welcome Means

What a Welcome Means

by Sr. Kerisfon Clement Ekanem  MMM     Republic of Benin      08.07.2022

hospitality words resizedI had a visit from one of our young women thinking about joining MMM, Fidelia Lawin. She and her younger sister visited me in School. I welcomed them and presented them with water and some snacks. She commented, “In School as in the Community”. I sought to know what her comment meant.

“Oh Sister, your hospitality reminds me of my first day in your Community in Zaffé,” she replied, and then continued. “I had made known my desire to join religious life to one of the Priests in my Parish and he directed me to the Sisters of the Medical Missionaries of Mary. First of all I had no interest in you (MMM) because you are always on the move. On a second thought, I decided to give it a try saying there may be something special about you. Luckily, I met an MMM from my place who was home on holidays just the day before she went back on her mission and I expressed my desires. We kept contacts and she encouraged me to visit the Community. I asked her ‘Who I will tell the Sisters sent me when I visit and I am asked this.’ ‘No, you will not be asked that, just go,’ she assured me.

I went to the Community one day but stood outside the gate for a long time for fear of the unknown. It drizzled, I got drenched and then I decided to go in. I rang the doorbell and in a matter of few minutes the door was opened by one of the Sisters. I expected to hear ‘Who are you? Who sent you? What are you doing here?’ but not even a single question came from her. I was beckoned to come inside and have a sit. ‘I am wet, Sister. I cannot sit on the cushion,’ I said, but she insisted I sit down so I sat. She excused herself for a few minutes and then returned with a glass of water. “In our culture, if you are given a cup of water in someone’s house it means that you are welcomed to his/her house” and so I felt at home immediately. She also offered me some snacks and zobo drink, I enjoyed them.

Could you imagine that level of hospitality? It affirmed what the Sister told me. After a while, I was asked the very first and only question, “What is your name?” I told her my name and that simplicity made me to give other information about myself and the purpose of my visit, and, we chatted for some time.

On leaving the Community, I felt so much peace within me. It was true that I was not asked the kind of questions I presumed, I never expected that. Really, there is something special about these Sisters.  “What else will I be searching for? I asked myself, it is to the Medical Missionaries of Mary I want to belong.”

May God help Fidelia as she continues to discern her vocation.